The race has began in earnest in the Ghanaian Presidential and Parliamentary elections slated for December 7. All the Presidential and Parliamentary candidates have filed their nomination papers by Monday October 25 2004, the deadline was the 22 of October.
Statistics released by the Electoral Commission (EC) shows that a total of 952 candidates, including 100 women are contesting the December 7 Parliamentary Elections in the 230 constituencies in the country with125 persons running as Independent Candidates. The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) is contesting in 226 constituencies while the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is contesting 229 seats. The Convention People's Party (CPP) is contesting 173 seats; the People's National Convention (PNC) 125 seats; Democratic People's Party (DPP) and the Every Ghanaian Living Everywhere (EGLE) 30 seats each; the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) 10 seats and the National Reform Party (NRP) five seats. There are five (5) people contesting the Presidential race.
The battle is already heating up with candidates throwing jabs at each other. But the heat is really on in the Presidential race where the real contest is between the incumbent President John Agyekum Kufour of the ruling NPP and his former opponent in the 2000 elections, Evans Atta Mills of the NDC. There is another visible undeclared candidate, former President Jerry Rawlings who is actively criss-crossing the country campaigning for the defeat of President Kufour and the NPP. So far so good. Apart from wild claims of corruption and "non-performance" of the NPP by Mills and Rawlings, the campaign has so far been peaceful.
In the year 2000, when the Americans had to rely on the Courts to install a President for them because they could not agree on how to count votes in their Presidential elections, Ghana recorded a near perfect elections to choose its President and government. We wish to see the same near flawless elections take place again this coming December. We know Ghanaians can rise to the occasion when the need arises. We also know and feel proud to note Ghanaians' abhorrence of violence. That is why we appeal to all political parties and their candidates to approach this year's elections campaign with dignity. Please stick to issues instead of personal insults and the incitement of your followers to violence.
At the end of the elections on December 7, 2004 we want the whole world to know how matured we are politically as Ghanaians. And then hopefully we can next time send our "experts" to monitor the elections in the United States of America and elsewhere in the "developed" countries.
Let the campaign roll but please stick to the rules of decency. We have come a long painful way as a nation and we need to strengthen the young pillars of democracy we have put in place. The Ghanaian News wishes all candidates and the parties the best of luck. But let the good people of Ghana be the judges and not lawlessness and violence. We shall be watching!!